PORTLAND (AP) -Passengers at the city’s airport and train station have more transportation options with Monday’s announcement of new bus and van links with Auburn, Freeport and Topsham.

Mermaid Transportation has begun offering daily van service from both Topsham and Auburn to the Portland International Jetport, said Jeff Monroe, the city’s transportation manager.

And on Saturday, VIP Tour & Charter Bus Company will start operating weekend bus service between the Portland Amtrak station and Freeport.

The two private companies decided to add the services following encouragement from city officials, Monroe said. No public money will be used to pay for the operations.

“The city’s been trying to foster growth through private operation of public transportation,” Monroe said.

“We’re excited that they’re willing to take a chance.”

Mermaid already offered van service from Maine to the airports in Boston and Manchester, N.H. Now the company is adding five daily van trips each way between the Jetport and park and ride lots at Exit 12 of the Maine Turnpike and Exit 20 of I-95. Round-trip fares are $25.

VIP’s bus service will run on weekends from May 3 to December 31 from the Portland Transportation Center to Freeport, where outlet shopping offers a major tourist attraction.

Buses will leave from Portland at 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., and return at 1:15 p.m. and 5:40 p.m. Fares will be $10 one-way and $20 roundtrip, with children under age 11 riding free.

On the Net:

Mermaid Transportation: http://www.gomermaid.com/

VIP Tour & Charter Bus Company: http://www.vipchartercoaches.com/

AP-ES-04-28-03 1305EDT

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